DALLAS CITY, IL (WGEM) — The Mississippi River is back to normal, but people living along the water said their situation is anything but normal.
FEMA officials spent Tuesday afternoon assessing the damage to see if residents can get a helping hand.
“I literally had to stay away for a while,” Dallas City, Illinois, resident Richard Howe said. “I was just heart sick.”
“It was all full of water,” Howe said. “That old muddy river, stinky river water.”You want to just cry.”
It hasn’t been easy for Richard Howe.
“It’s not good, but it is what it is,” Howe said.
He never imagined he’d be dealing with so much damage in his home, after five feet of water made its way into his finished basement back in May.
It’s a scene that’s hard for him and his wife to look at.
“I didn’t even let her come down here until I got it drained down and washed out because it was too heartbreaking,” Howe said.
It’s losses like this that prompted FEMA to spend Tuesday in Dallas City assessing damage to see if Howe and people like him will qualify for federal assistance.
In order for the homeowners here to receive that federal assistance, FEMA officials said the governor will have to submit a request to the federal government for a disaster declaration. If that happens, they said work here will start immediately.
“We are trying to determine the number of people that were displaced, the number of primary homes that suffered major damage and if any of those homes were completely destroyed, any of the issues related to public safety that we need to address,” FEMA spokesperson Rebecca Kelly said.
Howe said even if they get assistance, they’re planning to move.
“There was many times that I felt my heart jumping out of my chest,” Howe said. “We were literally killing ourselves fighting this flood.”
However, he hopes FEMA can help make the transition easier.
“I never thought I was going to be in this situation, but we’re in it and I really appreciate them coming and doing what they’re doing,” Howe said. “Any help will be much appreciated.”
FEMA officials said once they put all of the assessment information together and a file a report, it’s ultimately up to the Governor to determine if he’d like to request a presidential emergency declaration to the federal government.
The deadline to submit that request is September 3.